Among And Between: What’s the Difference?

Roxana Maria

Deciding whether to use “among” and “between” in English can be a bit confusing. Even though these two prepositions seem pretty similar, they actually have some small differences that can affect your sentence. Let’s go through it with a few examples to make it clearer.

What are The Definitions?

First things first, let’s get a clear definition for each term:

  • Among: Think of it when things are mixed within a group, like a crowd or a collection. It suggests a sense of being part of a larger whole.
  • Between: This one is for when you’re talking about relationships or comparisons involving distinct, separate things. It points to a specific separation or a comparison between two or more items.

How to Use Among and Between?

Consider these straightforward guidelines to help you decide which one to use:

1. Number of Things:

  • Among: If you’re dealing with more than two things or there’s no clear distinction between them, go with “among.”
ExampleCorrect Usage
Among a group of friends, Sarah felt comfortable.Correct
Among John, Jane, and Mark, a strong bond existed.Correct
Among the books on the shelf, find the one with a red cover.Correct
  • Between: Use “between” when you’re talking about exactly two separate things.
ExampleCorrect Usage
A choice between two options must be made.Correct
The negotiation was between the two companies.Correct
The secret remained between Mary and Susan.Correct

2. Where Things Are:

  • Among: If something is in the middle of a group or within a larger space, use “among.”
ExampleCorrect Usage
The cat hid among the bushes.Correct
The treasure is hidden among the ruins.Correct
The news spread among the students.Correct
  • Between: If you’re talking about a space or position in the middle or between two separate things, “between” is your go-to.
ExampleCorrect Usage
The sun set between the mountains.Correct
The referee stood between the two opposing teams.Correct
A river flows between two hills.Correct

3. Individual Relationships:

  • Among: Use “among” when you want to highlight a collective relationship or interaction within a group.
ExampleCorrect Usage
The news spread among the students.Correct
A sense of camaraderie existed among the team members.Correct
The feeling of excitement was shared among the crowd.Correct
  • Between: If you’re pointing out specific interactions or relationships happening between distinct things, use “between.”
ExampleCorrect Usage
A conversation between two friends unfolded.Correct
The conflict arose between the two nations.Correct
The secret remained between Mary and Susan.Correct

What is the difference between “Among” and “Between”?

“Among” is used for more than two things, emphasizing being part of a larger whole. “Between” is for two distinct things, focusing on separation or comparison. Use “among” for group dynamics and “between” for individual relationships or distinct comparisons.


Navigating “among” and “between” might not be a walk in the park, but with these practical guidelines, you can tackle it with ease. Pay attention to the number of things, the spatial context, and the nature of the interaction, and you’ll find yourself using these prepositions correctly in no time.